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November 3, 2017 3:02 pm

Iranian Foreign Minister Slams Washington Think Tank Over Revelations of Tehran’s Backing of Al Qaeda

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif greets Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the IRGC, in Tehran on October 9, 2017. Photo: Tasnim news agency.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has lashed out at a Washington, DC-based think tank for its ongoing revelations about the cooperation between the Tehran regime and Al Qaeda before and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Details of the relationship have been published in the Long War Journal, a publication of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), which is currently analyzing a cache of thousands of documents, videos and images concerning Al Qaeda’s operations released by the CIA. The documents demonstrate that Iran maintained a consistent, if sometimes fractious, military relationship with Al Qaeda. The Iranians also facilitated travel and financing for Al Qaeda’s leaders and gave sanctuary to one of Osama Bin Laden’s wives and their children in the days after 9/11.

In comments published on Twitter on Thursday and then reported on by official Iranian media outlets, Zarif implied that Saudi Arabia had financed the revelations, calling it a “record low for the reach of petrodollars.” Accusing the CIA and FDD of manufacturing “fake news,” Zarif — who is widely regarded as a regime “moderate” in many Western capitals — added that the document release “can’t whitewash role of US allies in 9/11.”

The furious Iranian response to FDD’s research is part of an ongoing war of words with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch-rival in the Middle East. On Friday, a top adviser to Iran’s “supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei intensified the clash with the Saudis and their allies while on a visit to Beirut.

“Certain countries in the region are obsessed with normalizing relations with the Zionist regime,” Ali Akbar Velayati said during an address to a summit of the “International Union of Resistance Scholars” — a gathering of 80 Islamist clerics from 200 countries.

These countries, which include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Arab states that have discreetly warmed their ties with Israel, were willing to abandon the Palestinian cause, whereas Iran emphasized that “resistance, and not compromise, remains as the only path to freedom of Palestine,” Velayati declared.

At a later meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Velayati repeated the oft-made Iranian claim that “Takfiri” terrorist groups such as ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and Al Qaeda were creations of the US and Israel.

“Terrorists and extremist and Takfiri movements are backed by the US, the Zionists and some regional countries that do not want stability, security, independence and unity among regional countries,” he said.

Velayati went on to praise Hariri for agreeing on October 17 to the formation of a coalition government with Hezbollah — Iran’s paramilitary Shia proxy in Lebanon. Hezbollah is widely assumed to have assassinated Saad’s father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in 2005.

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